Sail Auckland: Stars to the fore on opening day

470 Fleet - 2011 Sail Auckland Regatta - Day 1

Sail Auckland 2011 got underway today with nine fleets racing on three courses scattered up the Hauraki Gulf north of Takapuna Beach in a westerly offshore breeze which was light and shifty at times but provided good racing across all classes.

RS:X:In what will no doubt be an interesting battle over the next three days, New Zealand’s best including Tom Ashley and Jon-Paul Tobin today started battling it out with internationals Dorian van Rijsselberge from the Netherlands, and Lee Byunggun of Korea.

On day one it was the reigning Olympic champ Ashley that mastered the conditions best off Takapuna Beach, his home waters, and tops the leader-board on 3 points with a second and a first on the water today. The Korean sailor holds second place five points adrift, with van Rijsselberge and Cozzolino both one point further back.

The contest for the top woman windsurfer kicked off with Kate Ellingham of the NZL Sailing Team and Natalia Kosinska claiming one bullet apiece today to share the lead at the end of the first day. Justina Sellers holds third place.

On the RS:X course two races were sailed before the fleet headed ashore mid afternoon, with sailors reporting shifty 8-10 knot westerly winds on their course ranging through as much as 40 degrees at times. Wind gusts appeared and then disappeared catching out the fleet leaders at times including Tobin in race two.

Hey guys, when is our start, please?" AC45 visits the Sail Auckland fleet
Laser:Mike Bullot and Andrew Murdoch made the best start to Sail Auckland 2011 on the Laser course with a win apiece and solid results in their other two races.

Bullot tops the board on 9 points with Murdoch, recently crowned Laser National champion, one point back on 10. Aussie Tom Burton holds third place with fellow Aussie Ryan Palk in fourth and the remainder of the NZL Sailing Team in close pursuit.

Murdoch had this to say after day one:- 'Tricky as usual in the Takapuna offshore. I felt I had a pretty good day considering the conditions, I had a first, a third and a sixth, so a fairly good way to kick it off, I’m pretty happy.'

Finn: Dan Slater of the NZL Sailing Team enjoyed some good competition from Spaniard Rafael Trujillo and kiwi campaigner Matt Coutts on the Finn course.

Slater and Trujillo share the lead sitting equal on five points Slater opening with two bullets but then struggling to come back from a poor start in race three allowing Trujillo and Coutts to sail away from him.
Among the other fleets...

Andrew Murdoch and Laser fleet - 2011 Sail Auckland Regatta - Day 1
470:GBR’s Nick Rogers and Chris Grube were simply too good on the 470 course opening up a decent lead on the chasing pack after three races sailed on day one. The visiting pair are six points clear of Mark Overington and Ben Goodwin in second with women’s pair Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie in third place.

Laser Radial: Michael Cate leads from Sara Winther in the Laser Radial which at 40 boats boasts the largest fleet in the event and includes youth, women and masters sailors.

49er: Marcus Hansen and Aaron Hume-Merry lead the three boat 49er division, Sam Mackay & Oscar Rovick have the top spot in the 29er and Matthew Spary andTyler Russell lead in the 420 fleet.

Racing resumes tomorrow off Takapuna with a scheduled start to racing of 11am. The regatta continues through the weekend with the medal winners to be determined on Sunday.

Conditions are expected to be similar on the water tomorrow.

For more information about Sail Auckland Regatta see www.sailauckland.org.nz and

For Results http://www.sailauckland.org.nz/results/!click_here and navigate to the correct class (top set of overall results are last years)